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North Augusta reveals stadium plan; Ripken sells GreenJackets

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Rendering shows proposed North Augusta stadium and development in relation to 13th Street Bridge at bottom right
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 9:18 AM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 1:23 AM
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After lobbying for years to bring baseball downtown, the Augusta GreenJackets found a likely taker – across the river in North Augusta – as part of what Mayor Lark Jones called “the biggest proposal that has ever been made” in the history of the South Carolina city.

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North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover speaks during the announcement of a major multi-use development proposal known as Project Jackson during the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce A.M. Connection meeting. The development, still in the early planning phases, is set to feature a hotel, baseball stadium, and retail, residential and office space.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover speaks during the announcement of a major multi-use development proposal known as Project Jackson during the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce A.M. Connection meeting. The development, still in the early planning phases, is set to feature a hotel, baseball stadium, and retail, residential and office space.

Confirming widespread speculation Wednesday morning that a secret proposal known as “Project Jackson” indeed includes a sports and entertainment center for the GreenJackets – and a hotel, restaurants, townhouses, conference center, parking garage and more – city officials and developers revealed the details at a morning meeting.

The proposal, on which city officials are seeking public input, grew out of long-term plans to develop a high-density town center on the riverbank beside Hammond’s Ferry, City Administrator Todd Glover said. The site adjoins the 13th Street bridge connecting downtown Augusta and North Augusta.

The development proposal includes a 200-room resort-style hotel and conference center modeled after Hampton Terrace, a North Augusta winter resort that burned in 1916; up to four restaurants; 75 townhouses; 225 apartments; 30,000 square feet of retail space; 40,000 square feet of office space; and 900 parking spaces.

Under the proposal, the city would be responsible for about 30 percent of the financing, about $43 million for the sports and entertainment center, conference center and parking garage. In exchange, private developers promise $122 million in investment for the hotel, retail, residential and office space in addition to the already-announced new riverfront Family Y, Glover said.

The announcement Wednesday was coupled with the additional revelation that the GreenJackets are changing owners. Two of them, Chris Schoen and former Ripken Baseball Vice President Jeff Eiseman, were involved in earlier efforts to persuade city of Augusta officials to build a stadium on the Augusta side of the Savannah River and spoke to the group Wednesday.

Shoen, a previous minor-league owner involved with teams in Salem, Va., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Savannah, Ga., said Augusta’s loss of an ideal riverfront tract – the former Golf & Gardens property, now owned by Georgia Health Sciences University – prompted his look across the river.

Schoen, of Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties, emphasized the multipurpose nature of the sports and entertainment complex, which he said could be used for concerts and other sports, including football.

While not all public funding sources have been identified, Glover and Jones said the intent was to make the development “pay for itself.” An example of that would be using a Tax Increment Financing district that routes new property tax revenue from the development back into infrastructure costs at the site.

Jones mentioned a “seat tax” charged to ticket-holders for the facility’s games and other events; other sources of funding would come from a long-term lease of the stadium to the GreenJackets and a bond issue to be repaid from lease and other payments from the GreenJackets but not the city’s general fund, according to a news release.

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PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 12/19/12 - 09:05 pm
4
1
Maybe we can move the augusta national to SC too!

Then we can leave the rest of Augusta to Aziz and I wont have to cross the river anymore!

Dixieman
15335
Points
Dixieman 12/19/12 - 09:07 pm
4
0
Dixieman has 20 billion points

Well, maybe our elected politicians here in Augusta will learn from this and start doing productive, useful work.
Nah.

burninater
9627
Points
burninater 12/19/12 - 09:09 pm
1
1
RM, the 30' number is pasted

RM, the 30' number is pasted from OC. It looks like OC was talking about the floodplain, not the town of N. Augusta -- most of the town is built up on the bluff, where people built stuff back when they had a memory longer than last week.

I don't know what the depths were on that floodplain in 1990, but it is, in fact, a floodplain. I did some searching for 1990 flood coverage maps online and couldn't find anything, and the FEMA map site is down. I did find this article, though --

http://secureaik.mediaspanonline.com/star_news/News-0607-CITY-COUNCIL--4...

Seems there are some discrepancies between local and FEMA flood zone designations. The local story is that it's just glitchy data on FEMA's part that puts that terrace in a flood zone. Perhaps, but it's hard to argue with water -- I'd love to hear under what scenario the Savannah River overtops its banks in a future flood and doesn't inundate the low-elevation terrace on the east side of the river.

countyman
20244
Points
countyman 12/19/12 - 09:25 pm
2
6
The comments about Augusta

The comments about Augusta are pathetic, and truly ridiculous. Deke stated many times before it was more than a baseball stadium, and the usual suspects attacked him every chance they got. Deke always said it was a private/public partnership from the beginning.

This is a nice project, but it's $43 million public & $122 million private. The entire project is less than the $172 million Starbucks in South Augusta which is entirely private money.

The developers of the Holiday Inn Express and 901 Broad street(9apts/4k sq. ft of commercial space). Which equals over $6 million already.

People have to remember one building at the GGHF site will probably be close to $100 million.

burninater
9627
Points
burninater 12/19/12 - 09:31 pm
2
2
Here's an interesting little

Here's an interesting little snippet, RM:

"For nearly a century the riverfront of North Augusta was unavailable for residential development. As a result, in the early years of the City's existence, the property became industrial. Through the 1940s local folks were familiar with the pottery industry that thrived there, followed by brick manufacturing, a cotton mill, oil company, lumber yard, furniture veneer business, welding and fabrication shop, the North Augusta Dispensary (where they bought their liquor) and Hankinson Dairy.
But as those businesses died, in part as a result of the periodic and unpredictable flooding that plagued the riverfront, the property lay largely dormant until the 1990s.
A series of events converged to make new development possible - First, in the 1950s the dam was built at Clarks Hill, which reduced the possibility of flooding along the river. Then in the early 1990s, there was a major change in the flood plain designation, again allowing for riverfront development."

http://www2.aikenstandard.com/star_news/News-0419-SUBDIVISION-HAMMOND-S-...

This is the EXCEPTIONALLY interesting part:

"Then in the early 1990s, there was a major change in the flood plain designation, again allowing for riverfront development."

Huh. Interesting. Y'all were here in the early 1990's, so maybe you can tell me -- did that entire property suddenly heave, raising it above its prior elevation? Did the Savannah River channel suddenly drop?

Keep in mind, this was still zoned as flood zone 4 decades AFTER Clarks Hill went in. How does a historical flood zone suddenly stop becoming a historical flood zone? And how does it do so just in time for private development?

It will be interesting to see if the increased attention of a major development proposal will open up a can of stink that was previously buried under a few feet of Savannah River flood deposits ...

bdouglas
5139
Points
bdouglas 12/19/12 - 09:46 pm
2
0
More info...

@Burninater: Just speculation, but it often takes decades for new flood studies to be conducted by the government after dams and other things that significantly alter the landscape go in. It is definitely odd timing, though.

For whoever it was that asked and whoever is interested... Tax records show that the entirety of this land (save for a couple small slivers right on the river bank owned by the City of NA) is owned by North Augusta Riverfront LLC. This is the same company that owned and developed Hammond's Ferry. Worth noting that searching for their company name yielded a notice that was posted way back in September about the City of NA discussing this very retail and entertainment development back then and it didn't really draw much attention.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 12/19/12 - 09:46 pm
0
0
While I find the NA proposal
Unpublished

While I find the NA proposal interesting (since I live there), I was wondering how long it would take for Mother Nature to flood the place.
A "resort hotel?" Hmmmm.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 12/19/12 - 10:12 pm
1
0
Yes Countyman
Unpublished

I often sit around and say "hey I know what we can do this weekend..let's go watch a Starbucks plant!!"

countyman
20244
Points
countyman 12/19/12 - 10:17 pm
3
6
I'm only laughing at

I'm only laughing at Dichotomy's coments. He and Riverman are trying to come up with everything they to explain why this is a good idea, but it was bad when Augusta wanted to build it..

The Augusta side would have attracted even more private investment, and the TEE center is only $38 miillon/$10 million parking deck.

This is another reason why Richmond County citizens can't fall victim to the small vocal minority in RC and outside of the county. These people truly hate Augusta, and don't want to see anything new.

daviddunagan
331
Points
daviddunagan 12/19/12 - 10:22 pm
6
1
K-Mart on Gordon Hwy is a good store

Riverman & Harley- Don't knock it, support it. I buy all my kids sporting good supplies there at very good prices. You would be surprised at the selections. And you don't have to worry about how you look because your not going to see anyone there that you know.

harley_52
23646
Points
harley_52 12/19/12 - 10:53 pm
5
0
daviddunagan...

If you got the idea I was "knock(ing)" the K-Mart on Gordon Highway, you missed my intent. I like the store. I shop there occasionally. It's not far from my home and I agree they have a good selection of products at good prices.

I'm a fan....

useful
695
Points
useful 12/20/12 - 05:22 am
2
5
A PURPOSAL IS JUST THAT A

A PURPOSAL IS JUST THAT A PORPOSAL.NOTHING MORE ,NOTHING LESS. YOU WILL TO WRITE A LOT OF TRAFFIC TICKETS ON GEORGIA AVE. TO PAY FOR THAT.

dwb619
94899
Points
dwb619 12/20/12 - 04:15 am
0
0
/

/

seenitB4
88261
Points
seenitB4 12/20/12 - 06:33 am
3
1
countyman what world do you live in...

These people truly hate Augusta, and don't want to see anything new.

That is so far off base we should REPORT you...but I won't....we hate what gov. has done to Augusta....it didn't have to be this way.......you can't always have your cake & eat it too....
But don't worry...we might just find out some "Augusta" fingers are in this pie afterall....:)

seenitB4
88261
Points
seenitB4 12/20/12 - 06:38 am
4
0
daviddunagan

Harley isn't knocking that k-mart store...it was that "uppity" riverman.....with his nose in the air.....tail free as a breeeze fellow......always poking his nose in stuff...lol....heh...whoa nellie ..
I just can't help myself this am....lol

seenitB4
88261
Points
seenitB4 12/20/12 - 06:39 am
4
0
Naive

We are sooo naive to what is going on around us......

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/20/12 - 06:59 am
3
3
A-tisket a-tasket North

A-tisket a-tasket
North Augusta gets the taxes.

ColCo
806
Points
ColCo 12/20/12 - 08:03 am
8
0
They had a plan

Turner Simkins (a good friend of Mayor Deke) and other investors in Hammond's Ferry had a vision, devised a plan and have quietly been executing that plan for several years. North Augusta uses a lease/purchase model for much of it's development, they don't own their courthouse, a group of investors built it and the city leases it, the terms include a buyout at the end of the lease. With that fact in mind, the voters of North Augusta still have to approve the project, but most likely will. North Augusta and Columbia County both have problems, but one they don't have is the divide in the community that is slowly choking the life out of Augusta. Unfortunately we are all linked to the success or failure of Augusta and as long as the eight commission districts continue to elect unqualified, racially motivated candidates who see government as an employment agency instead of a service provider, the die for Augusta's future is cast.

seenitB4
88261
Points
seenitB4 12/20/12 - 08:21 am
4
0
Colco

When you say this......
Unfortunately we are all linked to the success or failure of Augusta and as long as the eight commission districts continue to elect unqualified, racially motivated candidates who see government as an employment agency instead of a service provider, the die for Augusta's future is cast.
Please tell us how will THAT change anytime soon.......Atlanta area couldn't stop the freight train...they just had to get out of the way.....as much as I love south Augusta...I see & live in the real world....2 counties in the Atlanta area are nose diving in their school system....because of lousy decisions on the BOE.......color was more important than qualified men/women........sad because we all lose.

laro247
132
Points
laro247 12/20/12 - 08:52 am
3
0
other peoples money

My how governement loves to spend other peoples money. I just don't see how a minor league baseball team in this area will ever generate enought revenue to offset 43 million the governement alone is on the hook for. Sounds more like a big deal a politician wants to be remembered for. I was really amused by the city managers reference to how much revenue it would generate for government. You do mean TAXES don't you.

Riverman1
84951
Points
Riverman1 12/20/12 - 08:59 am
2
0
Burn

Burn, thanks for that info about the river. I think a lot of the reclassification is forgotten about until someone wants to build along the river. Clark Hill did eliminate the need for a levee on the Augusta side and will prevent flooding on the N. Aug side.

The flood of 1990 was unusual in that much of the heavy rain was coming south of the dam. Cars in the parking lot of University Hospital were completely underwater. Luckily, I was parked in the second story of the parking deck. That was all coming from the canal. There's a plan as most know to close off the canal in cases like that. I'm not sure what happened that time. As far as the river, it did go up into the amphitheater to give you an idea how high it was.

Riverman1
84951
Points
Riverman1 12/20/12 - 09:00 am
5
0
Yeah, SeenIt nailed my little

Yeah, SeenIt nailed my little K-mart debate with Harley as she usually does. Heh.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/20/12 - 09:47 am
4
1
To those that now feel that A-RC should have voted for this.

We all saw the Usual Suspects stood to make a BIG BUNDLE, if it had happen on this side of the river. Sure Downtown Businesses (bars, restaurants and sports shops) would have prospered a bit better during baseball season. But the Whole COUNTY was on the hook for paying for it.

If you're honest you'll have to agree.
The deal that was being shoved down all of the A-RC Taxpayer throats is NOT the same the deal "being offered" to the North Augusta Council either.

The "DOWNTOWN DEAL" on this side of the river had all A-RC TAXPAYERS emptying our pockets to make the Usual Suspects even richer.

Asking all of A-RC to pay for something, that just has Usual Special Suspects benefiting from it is just wrong.

The SC Deal has North Augusta paying a smaller "share" than the investors, which will be paying a much bigger share.
Our deal was put it all up and shut-up.

NO Taxpayers outside the North Augusta City Limits, eg. Aiken County will be forced to pay 1 cent. Our deal was totally County Wide Tax Payer funded.

Why I support North Augusta over Augusta?
1st of all its not costing A-RC 1 cent, but we can enjoy it just like all those things that A-RC built that Columbia enjoys.

It is a true joint venture. A concept Augusta needs to learn and use with the investors footing a Major chunk of the bill.

The Proposed Augusta Downtown Stadium Deal Model
Lets use 40+ years of serious financial mismanagement, that lead to a gerrymandered consolidation 16 years ago, just so the Downtown could survive. Then continue to have the Usual sneaky power broker deals, all of which are supported by the NEW consolidation Tax $$$$ base. Then Added in new tax after tax.

Then bitter the deal with an Outsider Voter base that is fed-up watching money going into a Downtown Money Pit, with the Usual Suspects always involved and making lots of $$$ off the deals.
Add new Taxes, reductions in services and Rain Taxes, that are different from or only benefit Downtown.

Summary
The Usual Downtown Suspects must learn to understand that the Outsiders (Non-City) pay over 1/2 the tax base.

As an Outsider, I and a growing number, have grown tired of funding 16 years of the latest new way to rebuild or revitalize Downtown.

In Fact a Downtown I don't even need given all West Augusta Stores and which I have to use. Because the South Side has become Downtown's dumping ground and our businesses fed.

It is time to be Consolidated in every way.
Or to admit the failure and De-consolidate.

Riverman1
84951
Points
Riverman1 12/20/12 - 09:39 am
2
0
Relax Augusta

Y'all still have the minor league basketball team starting up.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 12/20/12 - 09:59 am
2
0
Still a black hole

The people of N. Augusta are still on the hook for the stadium per se. Facilities like these will never pay for themselves. They never have and they never will. This is why professional sports teams move around. Eventually, people figure out that their taxes are being piped into the team owners pockets. Looks like the Falcons are playing this card now in Atlanta... It appears that all the private investment in N. Augusta is attached to the parts of the development that will actually make money and not the stadium...

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/20/12 - 10:16 am
2
0
The Growth Of Augusta depends on one major item

OUTSIDE Investors.

But the problem Downtown Augusta has is that a certain power base, over the years, has come by hook or but crook, to own too much of downtown and now wants too much for the Outside Investors see a ROI.

Therefore the only solution to grow Downtown is to fund Special Projects at Taxpayer expense, to off set the price demanded by these special owners.

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 12/20/12 - 11:35 am
3
0
Augusta Commission...Please Don't Change Anything

It is genuinely hoped the current Richmond County Commission model doesn't change anything. Keep saying no to everything that comes across your desk, and keep putting the 60-70's racial overtones onto each and every agenda item, and you can just ensure your tax base will keep running away. I have been in North Augusta for 16 years, and my little town has certainly benefited from your lack of doing anything, and this most recent project is even more exciting than the one before it. Thank you Augusta Commission!

culturewins
3
Points
culturewins 12/20/12 - 01:53 pm
1
0
Culture eats strategy for lunch

I don't know who originally said this but this movement in North Augusta is a perfect reflection of the statement. While Augusta strategizes, maneuvers and delays, North Augusta has acted. I predict a Greenville SC like venue in 5 -7 years on the SC side of the river.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/20/12 - 03:10 pm
1
0
Odd thing about some of the

Odd thing about some of the posts. They are trying to assuage Augustans by proposing that the loss of our minor league team is actually progress. I get the point and it's not progress, it's taking a "things could be worse" attitude and that ain't cuttin it. That's all.

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 12/20/12 - 03:54 pm
1
0
Last person out of Augusta, please turn the lights off.

This is the best line I have heard in a while, thanks for a great laugh.

Somebody, please run and tell Fred Russell, now maybe he will 'hush' about a stadium and do some real decent work. Thanks North Augusta, you made my YEAR! South Augusta Resident...LOL!

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